Princeton University

Paul Chirik

2011 Engineering & Technology

Introducing the philosophy of green chemistry in chemical research and engineering, means combating the plague of pollution in an original and innovative way: at its source, diffusing a new modus operandi finalized to design products and processes minimizing the use and generation of hazardous substances. Paul Chirik’s projects in this field have been recognized by institutions like the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Chemical Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. His research group at Princeton, where he is currently professor of chemistry, focuses on discovering transition metal catalyzed reactions that reduce fossil fuel consumption, use base rather than precious metals and minimize waste streams. The work focuses on new synthetic methods for the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into more value-added chemicals and the replacement of heavy metals in organic synthesis and catalysis with Earth-abundant elements. While this holistic sustainable approach to chemistry already boasts of important industrial applications, it also promises a long term environmental and geopolitical impact.

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